tom wolfe journalist

“He has a gift of fluency that pours out of him the way Balzac had it.”, Tom Wolfe, 88, ‘New Journalist’ With Electric Style and Acid Pen, Dies. The birth of the literary movement known as “New Journalism” can be traced to one coffee-fueled episode in 1963: Tom Wolfe’s all-nighter. Tom Wolfe, an innovative journalist and novelist whose technicolor, wildly punctuated prose brought to life the worlds of California surfers, car customizers, astronauts and Manhattan’s moneyed status-seekers in works like “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” “The Right Stuff” and “Bonfire of the Vanities,” died on Monday in a Manhattan hospital. And for readers. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Tom-Wolfe, National Endowment for the Humanities - Biography of Tom Wolfe Lecture, Tom Wolfe - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby”, Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2010). Born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 2, 1930, novelist-journalist Tom Wolfe is best known as the author of the novels, Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) and A Man in Full (1998), as well as of the classic nonfiction books, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) and The Right Stuff (1979). Tom Wolfe, pioneering 'New Journalist,' dead at 88 Author Tom Wolfe chronicled everything from hippies to the space race. And then there was his considerable writing talent. Those were heady days for journalists. He was known for his verbal pyrotechnics in books like “The Right Stuff,” not to mention his sartorial flair. They want to tell you things that you don’t know.”. “If it takes me 12 hours, that’s too bad, I’ve got to do it,” he told George Plimpton in a 1991 interview for The Paris Review. “The problem, I think,” Paul Goldberger wrote in The Times Book Review, “is that Tom Wolfe has no eye.”. His death was confirmed by his agent, Lynn Nesbit, who said Mr. Wolfe had been hospitalized with an infection. For many summers the Wolfes rented a house in Southampton, N.Y., where Mr. Wolfe continued to observe his daily writing routine as well as the fitness regimen from which he rarely faltered. Corrections? “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” an account of his reportorial travels in California with Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters as they spread the gospel of LSD, remains a classic chronicle of the counterculture, “still the best account — fictional or non, in print or on film — of the genesis of the ’60s hipster subculture,” the media critic Jack Shafer wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review on the book’s 40th anniversary. Tom Wolfe, a practitioner and principal advocate of the form, wrote in at least two articles in 1972 that he had no idea of where it began. He did not make the cut. In the end it was his ear — acute and finely tuned — that served him best and enabled him to write with perfect pitch. American author and journalist Tom Wolfe, Jr. appears in his living room during an 2016 interview about his latest book, “The Kingdom of Speech,” in New York. Dec 22, 2018 - Explore LeonS's board "Tom Wolfe" on Pinterest. While there he experimented with … “If someone who is tone-deaf goes to Carnegie Hall every night of the year, he is, of course, entitled to his opinion of what he has listened to, just as a eunuch is entitled to his opinion of sex,” the art critic John Russell wrote in The New York Times Book Review. “Extraordinarily good writing forces one to contemplate the uncomfortable possibility that Tom Wolfe might yet be seen as our best writer,” Norman Mailer wrote in The New York Review of Books. Tom was born in Richmond, Virginia, to father Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Sr., who worked as an agronomist and editor for a newspaper, and mother Helen Perkins Hughes Wolfe, who was employed as … Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. “Together they attacked what each regarded as the greatest untold and uncovered story of the age: the vanities, extravagances, pretensions and artifice of America two decades after World War II, the wealthiest society the world had ever known,” Richard Kluger wrote in “The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune” (1986). His mother, Helen Perkins Hughes Wolfe, a garden designer, encouraged him to become an artist and gave him a love of reading. He was assigned to cover Latin America and in 1961 won an award for a series on Cuba. He had lived in New York since joining The New York Herald Tribune as a reporter in 1962. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Wolfe’s other nonfiction works included Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (1970), The Painted Word (1975), From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), and The Worship of Art: Notes on the New God (1984). Trying to shed light on the matter, literary critic Seymour Krim offered his explanation in 1973. His talent as a writer and caricaturist was evident from the start in his verbal pyrotechnics and perfect mimicry of speech patterns, his meticulous reporting, and his creative use of pop language and explosive punctuation. “He has this unique gift of language that sets him apart as Tom Wolfe. Tom Wolfe, the 88-year-old journalist and best-selling author known for his immersive style, contrarian attitude and hallmark white suits, died Monday in … Author Tom Wolfe pauses for a photo during an interview at the Stanhope Hotel in New York on Nov. 2, 2004. Tom Wolfe, in full Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr., (born March 2, 1930, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.—died May 14, 2018, New York, New York), American novelist, journalist, and social commentator who was a leading critic of contemporary life and a proponent of New Journalism (the application of fiction-writing techniques to journalism). The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Taking to … Cocky words from a man best known for his gentle manner and unfailing courtesy in person. “As a titlist of flamboyance he is without peer in the Western world,” Joseph Epstein wrote in the The New Republic. Additional details were not immediately available. He … Everybody wanted to know where Tom Wolfe had sprung from, this brilliantly talented, seemingly ubiquitous, altogether mysteriously third-person journalist. Mr. Wolfe’s later novels earned mixed reviews. It won the National Book Award. Most were represented in “The New Journalism” (1973), an anthology he edited with E. W. Johnson. After the car, with Maria at the wheel, runs over a black man and nearly ignites a race riot, Sherman enters the nightmare world of the criminal justice system. Fascinated by the status wars and shifting power bases of the city, he poured his energy and insatiable curiosity into his reporting and soon became one of the stars on the staff. The Right Stuff (1979; film 1983), which examines aspects of the first U.S. astronaut program, earned critical praise and was a best seller. From 1965 to 1981 Mr. Wolfe produced nine nonfiction books. Updates? Was this the His theory of literature, which he preached in print and in person and to anyone who would listen, was that journalism and nonfiction had “wiped out the novel as American literature’s main event.”, After “The Right Stuff,” published in 1979, he confronted what he called “the question that rebuked every writer who had made a point of experimenting with nonfiction over the preceding 10 or 15 years: Are you merely ducking the big challenge — The Novel?”. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Wolfe took his first newspaper job in 1956 and eventually worked for the Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune among others. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 2010 Wolfe was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. Tom Wolfe's high-wire act of language has provided a sort of cultural funhouse mirror ever since he started publishing in the mid-1960s, first as a journalist and later as the acclaimed author of novels The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full.Wolfe occasionally raises hackles, and he … It was the perfect showcase for his own extravagant and inventive style, increasingly on display in Esquire, for which he began writing during the 1963 New York City newspaper strike. He had always had an interest in art and was indeed an artist himself, sometimes illustrating his work with pen-and-ink drawings. Tommy Wolfe is a Furniture Designer and Sculptor. Tom Wolfe tried his level best to be a workaday deadline grunt early into his writing career, but he was constitutionally incapable of doing so. ― Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test The New Journalism is a 1973 book that explains the concept behind the “new” kind of journalism presented by Tom Wolfe – and I say “new” because even Wolfe says there’s no novelty. Young Tom was educated at a private boys’ school in Richmond. His second novel, “A Man in Full” (1998), also a whopping commercial success, was another sprawling social panorama. The book is also an anthology. Wolfe’s Hooking Up (2000) is a collection of fiction and essays, all previously published except for “My Three Stooges,” a scandalous diatribe about John Updike, Norman Mailer, and John Irving, who had all been critical of A Man in Full. A period of severe depression followed, which Charlie Croker relived, in fictional form, in “A Man in Full.”, As for his remarkable attire, he called it “a harmless form of aggression.”, “I found early in the game that for me there’s no use trying to blend in,” he told The Paris Review. Wolfe returned to nonfiction with The Kingdom of Speech (2016), in which he sharply criticized Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky as he argued that language was not a result of evolution. Photograph by Jill Krementz; all rights reserved. Mr. Mailer’s sentiments were echoed by John Updike and John Irving. “Girl of the Year,” his 1964 portrait of the Manhattan “it” girl Baby Jane Holzer, opened with the literary equivalent of a cinematic pan shot at a Rolling Stones concert: “Bangs manes bouffants beehive Beatle caps butter faces brush-on lashes decal eyes puffy sweaters French thrust bras flailing leather blue jeans stretch pants stretch jeans honey dew bottoms éclair shanks elf boots ballerinas Knight slippers, hundreds of them these flaming little buds, bobbing and screaming, rocketing around inside the Academy of Music Theater underneath that vast old moldering cherub dome up there — aren’t they super-marvelous?”. Wolfe’s first book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1964), is a collection of essays satirizing American trends and celebrities of the 1960s. “How grateful one can feel then for his failures and his final inability to be great — his absence of truly large compass. Every day he set himself a quota of 10 pages, triple-spaced. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The next year he began writing for New York, the newspaper’s newly revamped Sunday supplement, edited by Clay Felker. Mr. Wolfe, second from left, at New York magazine in 1967 with, from left, George Hirsch, Gloria Steinem, Clay Felker, Peter Maas, Jimmy Breslin and Milton Glaser. Wolfe was an American writer and journalist, most notably associated with a style of New Journalism. Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. was born on March 2, 1930, in Richmond, Va. His father was a professor of agronomy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, editor of The Southern Planter, an agricultural journal, and director of distribution for the Southern States Cooperative, which later became a Fortune 500 Company. Tom Wolfe, one of the great observers of the American scene — not least in his unique and peerless work at New York Magazine — died yesterday at 88, the Times has confirmed. Tom Wolfe in 1968 in Manhattan. According to Tommy Wolfe’s online biography, … In 1996 he suffered a heart attack at his gym and underwent quintuple bypass surgery. He was 88. Photo by Dan Callister/Rex . Tom Wolfe (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) Back to Blood (2012) investigates (and pokes fun at) the complexities of race relations in Miami. It was a typically wry response from a writer who found delight in lacerating the pretentiousness of others. Tom Wolfe, journalist and author, born 2 March 1930, died 14 May 2018. Wolfe invoked Emile … Tom Wolfe, the brilliant, zeitgeist-channeling journalist and novelist who could absorb fascinating subcultures within American life and transform them into electric prose, died Monday in a … “His prose style is normally shotgun baroque, sometimes edging over into machine-gun rococo, as in his article on Las Vegas which begins by repeating the word ‘hernia’ 57 times.”, William F. Buckley Jr., writing in National Review, put it more simply: “He is probably the most skillful writer in America — I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else.”. Many critics found “I Am Charlotte Simmons” (2004), about a naïve freshman’s disillusioning experiences at a liberal arts college fueled by sex and alcohol, unconvincing and out of touch. Around this time Wolfe adopted his trademark attire: a three-piece white suit and a high-collared silk shirt. Tom Wolfe (1930-2018) was one of the founders of the New Journalism movement and the author of such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, as well as the novels The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. (If indeed he ever did!) In his use of novelistic techniques in his nonfiction, Mr. Wolfe, beginning in the 1960s, helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as the New Journalism. As a young reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, Wolfe chafed at the straightforward nature of the job. Wolfe died at a New York City hospital. Every morning he dressed in one of his signature outfits — a silk jacket, say, and double-breasted white vest, shirt, tie, pleated pants, red-and-white socks and white shoes — and sat down at his typewriter. He then attended Yale University (Ph.D., 1957) and subsequently wrote for several newspapers, including the Springfield Union in Massachusetts and The Washington Post. In an essay titled “My Three Stooges,” included in his 2001 collection, “Hooking Up,” he wrote that his eminent critics had clearly been “shaken” by “A Man in Full” because it was an “intensely realistic novel, based upon reporting, that plunges wholeheartedly into the social reality of America today, right now,” and it signaled the new direction in late-20th- and early-21st-century literature and would soon make many prestigious artists, “such as our three old novelists, appear effete and irrelevant.”, And, he added, “It must gall them a bit that everyone — even them — is talking about me, and nobody is talking about them.”. That’s what Tom Wolfe did for journalists. May 15, 2018 4:11 PM EDT T he novelist and journalist Tom Wolfe, who died on Monday at age 88, will be remembered for his impact on the development of the New Journalism, his … He was 88 years old. The art world, en masse, rejected the argument, and the book, with disdain. The world has lost a singular writing talent—but that's not all there was to Wolfe. Wolfe died at a New York City hospital. Tom Wolfe, the influential writer whose unconventional, exuberant prose laid the foundation for so-called New Journalism and fueled his best-sellers “The Right Stuff” and “The Bonfire of … Storms did not seem to bother Mr. Wolfe, as his forays into the art world demonstrated. Fortunately the world is full of people with information-compulsion who want to tell you their stories. For many years Mr. Wolfe lived a relatively private life in his 12-room apartment on the Upper East Side with his wife, Sheila (Berger) Wolfe, a graphic designer and former art director of Harper’s Magazine, whom he married when he was 48 years old. At the same time, Mr. Wolfe continued to turn out a stream of essays and magazine pieces for New York, Harper’s and Esquire. There may even be an endemic inability to look into the depth of his characters with more than a consummate journalist’s eye.”, “Tom may be the hardest-working show-off the literary world has ever owned,” Mr. Mailer continued. Mr. Wolfe in 1988 at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan with, from left, Barbara Walters, Brooke Astor and Liz Smith. Tom Wolfe, the white-suited wizard of “new journalism” who exuberantly chronicled American culture from the Merry Pranksters through the space race before turning his … The book, adapted into a film in 1983 with a cast that included Sam Shepard, Dennis Quaid and Ed Harris, made the test pilot Chuck Yeager a cultural hero and added yet another phrase to the English language. The eccentricities of his adult life were a far cry from the normalcy of his childhood, which by all accounts was a happy one. Author and journalist Tom Wolfe is interviewed in July 2016 in his living room in New York about his book “The Kingdom of Speech.” Wolfe has died at age 87. “Do Panthers like little Roquefort cheese morsels rolled on crushed nuts this way, and asparagus tips in mayonnaise dabs, and meatballs petites au Coq Hardi, all of which are at the very moment being offered to them on gadrooned silver platters by maids in black uniforms with hand-ironed white aprons?,” Mr. Wolfe wrote, outraging liberals and Panthers alike. Even more impressive, to many critics, was “The Right Stuff,” his exhaustively reported narrative about the first American astronauts and the Mercury space program. Two years later, Mr. Wolfe took revenge. Tom Wolfe, in full Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr., (born March 2, 1930, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.—died May 14, 2018, New York, New York), American novelist, journalist, and social commentator who was a leading critic of contemporary life and a proponent of New Journalism (the application of fiction-writing techniques to journalism). Once asked to describe his get-up, Mr. Wolfe replied brightly, “Neo-pretentious.”. He enrolled at Yale University in the American studies program and received his Ph.D. in 1957. Motivated by a desire to revive social realism in literature—as he expressed in a much-discussed manifesto published in Harper’s in 1989—Wolfe turned to fiction. He graduated cum laude from Washington and Lee University in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in English and enough skill as a pitcher to earn a tryout with the New York Giants. Many of his illustrations were collected in “In Our Time” (1980). In an author’s statement for the reference work World Authors, Mr. Wolfe wrote that to him the term “meant writing nonfiction, from newspaper stories to books, using basic reporting to gather the material but techniques ordinarily associated with fiction, such as scene-by-scene construction, to narrate it.”, He added, “In nonfiction I could combine two loves: reporting and the sociological concepts American Studies had introduced me to, especially status theory as first developed by the German sociologist Max Weber.”. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Mr. Wolfe’s fictional ambitions and commercial success earned him enemies — big ones. Tom Wolfe, one of the leader-progenitors of the New Journalism movement, brings his formidable analytical skill in introducing each of the individual examples contained herein, and what an amazing and outstanding variety of selections he has chosen. But as an unabashed contrarian, he was almost as well known for his attire as his satire. She and their two children, Alexandra Wolfe, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and Tommy Wolfe, a sculptor and furniture designer, survive him. “I might as well be the village information-gatherer, the man from Mars who simply wants to know. The article was included in Mr. Wolfe’s essay collection “Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers,” published in 1970. In the early 1960s he moved to New York City and soon was contributing to various publications, notably the magazines New York, Esquire, and Harper’s. The New Journalism, of which Tom Wolfe was the principal inventor along with Dr Hunter S. Thompson and a few others in the early 1960s, is now as dead as the penny dreadfuls and the jingo journalism of the early 1900s. This extensive interview with author and journalist Tom Wolfe, who passed away on May 14, 2018, appeared in Writer's Digest in 1974, shortly before the publication of Wolfe… Tom Wolfe in 2016 at the New York Public Library’s gala commemorating the 50th anniversary of Truman Capote’s “Black and White Ball.”. An unabashed contrarian, he was done for the New journalism ” ( 1973 ), an anthology he with..., 1931 ) is an American author and journalist Tom Wolfe, pioneering author and 'New journalist, dead. World has lost a singular writing talent—but that 's not all there was to Wolfe newsletter get... Investigates ( and pokes fun at ) the complexities of race relations in Miami the! Was confirmed by his agent, Lynn Nesbit, who were known for his verbal in... Echoed by John Updike and John Irving Manhattan with, from left, Barbara Walters, Brooke Astor Liz... 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